Rights of Way and Access

maps (image: Drew Collins on unsplash)

Working in Rights of Way and Access. There are two main elements of access work: the administrative, legal side of ensuring paths follow the permitted route are unimpeded and are correctly represented on the map and the practical element of keeping paths open, signed and useable.

Jobs and employment

Typical jobs include Rights of Way Officer, Access Officer, Footpath Worker, Footpath Surveyor.

See current vacancies advertised with CJS here.

To gain the experience required volunteering is frequently a good start.

See current volunteering opportunities advertised with CJS here.

Skills, training and CPD.

Rights of Way work requires tact, diplomacy and patience as well as an ability to communicate with the public. You will need knowledge of rights of way law and mapping software e.g. GIS or MapInfo.  For the more practical roles basic land management skills will be necessary.  For all roles the ability to read a map and to walk, often long distances, over rough terrain are necessary.

And something unusual like stone carving (for gate posts and signs) or traditional sign writing may make your application stand out.

If you're thinking of a career in rights of way a countryside management higher qualification is usually the basic entry point. There are details of longer courses like these on the Training Directory here.

Information and in depth articles

The Stour Valley Path is 25 years old!

Follow the Data, Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path National Trail

Cleveland Way National Trail – celebrating  50 years

Barriers to Access and the Benefits of the Countryside for Disabled People, Phil Chambers

Fixing the fells - an all-weather task, Fix the Fells

"Can't see why I'd ever need Mountain Rescue" - famous last words, Mountain Rescue England & Wales

When is a path not a right of way?, IPROW

Walkers with dogs: new approaches to better management, Stephen Jenkinson


Useful organisations

Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management (IPROW)

Open Spaces Society

Paths for All


Scottish Access Technical Information Network


Byway and Bridleway Trust